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In the Mad River Valley, August is art thanks to Vermont Festival of the Arts which gets under way tonight at The Common Man. Once a weeklong and then a 10-day event, the festival has grown into a monthlong event that brings many day and overnight visitors to The Valley and has been regularly named one of Vermont's premiere summer offerings.
The monthlong event, now in its 17th year, includes some perennial favorite events, such as the Great Plein Air Paint Out on Bridge Street and the festival's opening community picnic this Sunday, August 3.
There are some revamped popular events such as Taste of The Valley which is moving from a weeknight to a weekend day, August 10, and will feature an Iron Chef Competition.
Taste guests will vote for their favorite taste (and chef) and two chefs will be given a mystery ingredient and begin cooking. The competitors will prepare two dishes for the judges (including David Cohen, food columnist for The Valley Reporter) to try. And two guests will be chosen to help the chefs. How fun will that be?
There are some impressive new offerings this year, including an exhibit at Waitsfield United Church of Christ, "Holiness and the Feminine Spirit - The Art of Janet McKenzie." Having her work shown here and having her speak at the artist's reception on August 2 is quite a coup. This is one exhibit not to miss.
There are many, many exhibits, large and small, for people to check out. There are the large shows, Big Red Barn Art Show and Green Mountain Cultural Center Photography Show. And there are many smaller, more intimate exhibits including one at All Things Bright and Beautiful, Moosewalk Studios, Parade Gallery, The Collection, the Festival Gallery, Three Mountain Café, Bridges, The Pitcher Inn and more.
The list of workshops is impressive as is the list of demos, culinary offerings and children's activities.
This year the theater and performance offerings are plentiful, including Violet at The Skinner Barn this week and Sympathy for the Devil: The Cancer Initiation of the Handless Maiden, Keryn Nightengale's new show at The Skinner Barn this weekend. The Poetry Society of Vermont holds its summer festival at the Knoll Farm this weekend as well.
August really is art in The Valley. Make time to check out this year's festival.